3 Steps to Protect your Medical Practice during Employee Termination
Being in business means that your responsibilities as a medical practitioner go beyond simply diagnosing and treating patients. Along with aforementioned givens comes the behind-the-scenes operational work of accounting, human resources, adhering to regulations, and constantly strategizing as to how you can position your medical practice to be more competitive. Perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect of being in business is the inevitability of having to terminate an employee. It can be personal, messy, and a stressful time for everyone involved.
Disgruntled employees have been known to sabotage computers, steal important company data, snoop into medical records, and mishandle money. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not only your clinic that’s at risk of being affected, but more importantly – your patient’s confidence and trust in your practice.
When an employee is up for termination or been recently let go, you need a process that determines the level of risk an employee may have towards your practice, as well as comprehensive safeguards that protect you and your patients. Whether or not they are leaving on good terms or not, here are three important steps to take when going through the employee termination process.
Block electronic access.
It’s important to gauge whether or not an employee’s access to vital systems should be scaled back or even completely eliminated during the termination process – especially when ill-will is present. Be aware that any clearance you’ve given the employee during employment means they are a step closer to sensitive information and the patient’s protected health information. When termination becomes official, your process for locking out an employee from all electronic medical records, practice management systems, and computer software should be inactivated immediately.
Reclaim all physical keys and codes.
Those who tend to possess power use it – for good or bad. During the termination process, you have to assume that if the opportunity for retaliation can occur – it will occur. Just as it’s important to block electronic access to vital electronic systems, it’s equally important to lock an employee out of all physical access to the medical practice. Card bearers, key holders, and those with knowledge of security system codes should be considered a huge liability and their access should be revoked as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, the medical practice may want to contact a locksmith to have the locks re-keyed.
Limit access to “at risk” funds.
Many employees who steal rationalize their illegal behavior away – especially when they know their departure is imminent. Pay close attention to who has access to payment registers, petty cash, or even time-clock recording systems. Ensure the employee returns any company provided credit cards. You have to assume that during the employee’s last days at your practice, they will be trying to get as much out of you as they can for as little work as possible. Unfortunately, this can sometimes take the form of outright theft.
Prepare your Medical Practice Today
Navigating today’s healthcare environment has become increasingly challenging. This reality means it is more difficult than ever to grow and sustain a financially healthy and strong practice. Our team of experienced professionals can assist you during this process.